Dog Goes Crazy in The Crate? [6 Solutions]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Crate training is an important part of being a responsible dog owner.

It helps your dog feel safe and secure, it helps prevent messes from happening in your home and it’s a good way to keep your dog from getting into trouble.

However, it can get difficult though, especially if you have an anxious puppy or a dog that goes crazy when they are closed up in the crate.

In this article, we will go over some tips on how to help make the crate training process easier for both you and your pup!

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Why is My Dog Going Crazy in Her Crate?

Crate Training is Hard but Necessary

Crate training is a useful way to keep your dog safe when you can’t be home.

However, it is not without its challenges.

It can be difficult to train your dog to spend time in the crate—you want your dog to feel comfortable and happy while they’re in there, but this can take some time!

The good news is that the process will pay off: crate-trained dogs are much less likely to attempt escape or cause damage if left alone for short periods of time.

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Why Should I Crate My Dog? Benefits of Crate Training

Professional trainers and veterinarians have long recognized that one of the quickest and least stressful ways to shape desired habits in dogs is through crate training.

There are several benefits that can come from this form of training including the following:

  • House train your dog and improve its bladder control (prevent accidents at night)
  • Gives you the opportunity to travel with your dog (the crate is her safe space)
  • A good space for your dog to spend time alone, especially in situations when she should not be present (meal times)
  • Allows you to head out without fear that your dog will engage in destructive behavior
  • Your dog has a place to relax and feel safe, particularly in stressful situations such as thunderstorms, fireworks, or construction work going on
  • Develop a good sleeping habit so you won’t run into issues like your dog sleeping in the crate at night but not during the day

Crate Training Challenges: Dog Crate Anxiety

The main reasons for creating mishaps include overcrating, unpleasant experiences when crated, incorrect introduction to the crate, and fears of isolation or separation.

Some dogs might not go into a crate even with treats, so you gotta be careful when doing this.

To put it quite simply, our actions often dictate how our dogs will react to being crated, and here are some of the most common mistakes you must avoid:

Forcing your dog to go in

Needless to say, no dog will enjoy the experience if they are being shoved into a small plastic or metal box.

Never ever do this! One bad experience will overwrite 100 good ones.

Too much, too soon

When you first use a crate with your dog, don’t put it in there for too long. Start with 30 minutes and increase the duration by 30-minute blocks.

Adult dogs can be crated for up to 8 hours a day, while puppies should not be inside one for more than 4 hours.

You also need to understand that your dog will not be able to hold its pee for a very long time.

If you keep your dog in the crate for too long and force it to pee or poo inside it, it will not want to use the crate anymore.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Why Do Dogs Lick Their Lips When You Pet Them?

Fast introduction

Once you purchased a crate, be sure to let your dog have easy access to it, rather than taking it out and immediately expecting it to use the crate happily.

Place it in an area that your dog frequents so that it gets used to it quickly.

Lack of comfort items

Your dog will feel uncomfortable and unwelcome if you leave it empty.

I mean, this is not a prison, so go ahead and put a soft dog bed inside or anything else like its favorite toys that make it a cozy little sanctuary.

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Crate is too small

I don’t have claustrophobia, but I surely do not like tiny spaces.

While the point of a crate is not to let your dog exercise in it, too small a crate will cause a lot of discomfort.

Make you are getting the right sized one.

A simple rule you can follow is that your dog should be able to turn around without difficulty with the door closed and be able to enter the crate without stooping.

Doggy says, you might like this too: Dog Obsessed With the Water Hose?

Using the crate to enforce punishment

When you start using the crate for punishment, your dog will associate it with something negative.

This can cause a lot of confusion on your part as well as your dog’s part.

It is better to use positive reinforcement and reward him when he does something good so that he knows what behavior you want from him.

Doggy says, you might want to read this too: Dog crying at night in new house

Why is My Dog Going Crazy in Her Crate?

Why is My Dog Going Crazy in Her Crate?

Usually, your dog should feel like a natural instinct when it goes into a crate, just like it returning to its den in the wild.

This is a place that gives them a sense of security, and because of this, your dog ought to have a generally favorable experience with a crate.

However, there are a few typical causes for dogs to lose their minds in their crate.

Negative experience

Having a bad experience is probably the most common cause for a dog to go crazy in their crate.

If your dog has had an unpleasant experience in a crate before, they may associate it with fear and stress.

The next time you try to put them in one, they may panic because of this association.


There’s a good possibility your dog is crying because he misses you.

If he stays by your side whenever you’re home but is confined to a box whenever you leave the house or go to bed, this can make it feel unset about being alone and act out.

Usually, these dogs will calm down soon enough.

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Dogs require a lot of mental and physical exercise and when they are bored, they will seek out an activity to keep themselves occupied that includes unwanted ones.

And when you place them in a crate, this may exacerbate or even cause boredom, causing them to act out like a small child who is bored and needs something to do.


Dogs who experience something scary while confined to crates can identify that fear with the crate.

For instance, when your dog was in its crate, imagine someone in your neighborhood let off fireworks.

Or a loud thunderstorm happened and your dog was in his crate.

These negative events can be strongly linked to the crate in your dog’s mind.

If this is the case, you need to be very patient with your whining dog – he is simply afraid and needs your reassurance.

Try to sit with him and comfort him.

Environmental issues

Did you recently move the crate’s location?

Or have you moved to to a new place, brought in new pets, or have a new family member?

Dogs are routine-oriented animals.

Their degree of comfort with their crate may change as a result of these adjustments.

This is probably why your dog acts out in their crate if they appear to be upset by even little changes to their habit or environment.

Doggy says, you might like this too: When Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Calm Down?

Too much time in the crate

Almost all dogs that whine while in their crates do so because they want to get out of it.

However, this might sometimes be a need.

A generally calm dog that has been trained to use a crate may start whining if he has to go outside or if he feels ill to his stomach.

If your dog is normally quiet but starts acting out, you will need to investigate why.

Lack of training/poor introduction

If you are just started out with a crate for your dog, you need to do it the right way.

A dog that has not been properly introduced to his crate will not know how to behave in one.

If he is kept in it for too long or too often, he will get anxious and try to escape.

This is why many trainers recommend that owners start crate training their dogs as soon as they bring them home from a breeder or shelter at around 8 weeks of age.

I will share some of the methods that will be sure to improve their experience.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why Do Cocker Spaniels HOWL? [Separate Fact From Fiction]

How To Stop Your Dog From Crying in the Crate?

Now that you know all the reasons and pitfalls to avoid when crate training, the problem with your dog crying or going crazy in its crate is rather low.

But if it does happen, here are some tips you can use to stop this behavior.

Ensure the crate is welcoming

The crate should be warm, comfortable, and inviting for your dog, and placed in a quiet area in the house.

Consider adding additional bedding or soft toys to make it more comfortable and also placing a blanket over the top of the crate if it helps calm your pup down.

You can even place a small piece of your clothing in there as it helps calm them down.

Use an alternative training area

Every time your dog experiences a negative crate experience, it makes him more stressed and anxious and makes it more difficult to change his crate aversion.

You may need to use another area or tool such as a play pen or a spare bedroom instead.

Alternatively, you may want to consider buying a new crate and restarting the training with the right methods again.

Use a calming spray

A calming spray can help to keep your dog calm and and relaxed.

These sprays are made of a natural blend of flower essences that is non-drowsy and super easy to use.

All you need to do is spray some on your hands and rub it on your dog’s neck area as well as the items in its crate.

Give it plenty of exercise

As has been pointed out before, the crate is like a safe haven for your dog to rest and relax.

Imagine it still has bundles of energy when you put it in a crate. It is not going to be too calm about it.

Bonding and engagement over exercise is an important duty of a dog owner, so ensure that you give your dog the time of day for all these activities.

When it returns to the crate, it will rest feeling fulfilled.

Lots of positive reinforcements

It is important to remember that dogs respond well to positive reinforcement.

It works well for training them and also for encouraging good behavior.

Therefore, instead of getting annoyed when your dog refuses to enter the crate, try some positive reinforcements like treats or toys.

Use a dog daycare

If all else fails and you cannot find someone to help, consider using a doggy daycare instead.

This will give your dog a chance to socialize with other dogs too, rather than you having to worry about it developing negative behavior while at home alone.

Why You Should Not Punish a Dog That’s Crying in the Crate

There’s no point in punishing a dog that’s crying in the crate.

It won’t help, and it could make things worse.

Dogs don’t understand punishment or why they deserve it—they just know that it makes them feel bad.

Imagine they are already feeling scared and anxious and you pile it on by scolding it. This will only make the crating experience a bad one for it.

Just avoid giving it unnecessary attention, and only step in when there is something dangerous going on.

Dog Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is one of the most common behavioral problems in dogs where they are overly attached to their owners.

Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety are often destructive, bark a lot and urinate in the house when left alone.

This can be caused by a lack of socialization, not being properly trained or simply being left alone for too long.

If you suspect your dog has such an issue, you will need to research deeper and set up some kind of routine and alone time for your dog to get used to it.

A chat with a dog behaviorist would help too.

Crate Training Alternatives

If none of the methods work and you are at the end of your tether, you can consider using the following to help you manage:

  • Play pens
  • Baby gates
  • Doggy day care/pet sitter

I personally would recommend that you continue training your dog, possibly with a brand new crate (if it hates its old one so much).

By following the right steps and giving it plenty of positive encouragement, you can certainly get your dog to enjoy its crate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

My puppy is screaming in the crate for hours, what should I do?

As long as your dog is not in any danger, you can ignore it and let it get used to being in the crate. This is assuming that you have introduced your dog correctly to the crate and given it plenty of time to adjust and access to comfort items. If you react and take it out, you are telling it that by crying, whining, and howling is acceptable.

Does putting a blanket over a dog crate help?

Many dogs can benefit from using a crate cover, such as a blanket or cover designed specifically for crates. Crate covers help dogs feel calmer and less anxious by reducing visual stimulus, which reduces excitement and barking.

In Conclusion: Dog Goes Crazy in The Crate

Crating is a great way to keep your dog safe and comfortable while you are away from home.

However, it can be hard for them to understand that going crazy in their crate isn’t desirable.

If you follow the tips and tricks in this article, then you should have no problem getting your dog to calm down when put into their crate.

Check out other dog behavior articles such as why is my dog bobbing head around food bowl, my dog will only walk with both of us, why does my dog shake his head when he barks, and many more on our blog!

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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